Banksy

“A wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.”

Banksy is a contemporary British street artist, best known for his signature stenciled pieces depicting satirical and sharp social commentary.
The explosive popularity of his installations and resulting worldwide interest in street art helped cement graffiti’s expanding role as an influential cultural voice in political discourse.
His work often exhibits subversive anti-war, anti-consumerist, and anti-establishment themes, incorporating imagery of children, soldiers, rats, and monkeys.

Career Stage
Blue-Chip
Solo Shows
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Banksy is a contemporary British street artist, best known for his signature stenciled pieces depicting satirical and sharp social commentary. He has famously maintained complete anonymity throughout his rise to fame, despite the public nature of his work. Banksy began his career as a prolific graffiti artist in the Bristol underground scene in the United Kingdom and has massively expanded his tagging, stencil work, and large installations to a global scale.

Banksy’s artistic ethos is overwhelmingly non-elitist, famously stating that “the art world is the biggest joke going.” His work often exhibits subversive anti-war, anti-consumerist, and anti-establishment themes, incorporating imagery of children, soldiers, rats, and monkeys. “The Mild Mild West,” “Bomb Hugger,” and “Flower Thrower” have all become iconographic calls for peace and the fight against police brutality. The explosive popularity of his installations and resulting worldwide interest in street art culminated in what is now known as the “Banksy effect”: graffiti’s expanding role as an influential cultural voice in political discourse.

Banksy actively works to reveal the facade of the art world, such as when he disguised himself as a street vendor in New York City’s Central Park and sold his paintings for $60. One of Banksy’s most famous pieces, “Girl with Balloon,” was remotely shredded by the artist immediately after being auctioned off; it was then renamed Love in the Bin, and is the first self-shredded artwork in history. His 2011 documentary film “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which followed the budding street artist Mr. Brainwash’s rise to fame, was nominated for an Academy Award. 

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